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The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North… (2012)

by Thomas King

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8544721,773 (4.12)93
In The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King offers a deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian-White relations in North America since initial contact. Ranging freely across the centuries and the Canada-U.S. border, King debunks fabricated stories of Indian savagery and White heroism, takes an oblique look at Indians (and cowboys) in film and popular culture, wrestles with the history of Native American resistance and his own experiences as a Native rights activist, and articulates a profound, revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.… (more)
Recently added byduncarmen, private library, collinbf, NACCA, Nerdyrev1
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» See also 93 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
My review of the content is essentially the same as my review of the print book, which I read in 2020. That review is here: https://www.librarything.com/work/12848384/reviews/163581484

The audiobook is what prompted me to sign up for Libro.fm, because the library didn’t have it and I simply needed to hear Lorne Cardinal reading this book. He does an excellent job, especially with highlighting King’s deadpan wit. I highly recommend both print and audio for this book, which is a must read. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Oct 30, 2022 |
Another excellent book by Thomas King. This one is a history of indigenous peoples in North America told from the point of view of indigenous peoples. There is history in here of which I was unaware. Even though some of the history is painful to read in terms of the institutional and personal racism that was leveled against indigenous peoples in the guise of nation building, King brings his sharp wit to bear that makes digestion of this history more manageable. I greatly enjoyed this book while simultaneously filling in the gaps in my Canadian education. I highly recommend this book to anyone of settler descent. ( )
  Neil_Luvs_Books | Mar 5, 2022 |
This makes a very hard history easy to read. Thomas King's wonderful black humour doesn't whitewash any of the tragedies but adds poignancy to the absurd errors and deliberate evil of colonialism in North America. ( )
  Phil-James | Oct 1, 2021 |
I learned about this book from a friend, as I was looking for something to read to help me learn more about the indigenous people of Canada.

Oh. My. Goodness.

The author blames, among other things, the arrogant push of Christianity as one of the reasons for the losses of the indigenous people, their land, languages, and so much more. And my description in that last sentence seems woefully understated.

I’m a Christian, so I’m grieved that the teachings of Jesus could end up doing to the indigenous people of North America the full opposite of what I think Jesus intended. But residential schools prove that Christianity (not Jesus' teaching) was a key factor in the horrors enacted toward indie finite people.

King doesn’t spend all his time in the book talking about residential schools. Nor does he spend it complaining, though he could. I learned about the schools, land acknowledgements, treaties, and how it seems to be getting a bit better as we work to address the wrongs we’ve enacted in the past, but there is a lot of work to do.

From The City of Toronto's website, it seems that I live on the “traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples”.

I pray that, as a Christian, I will help to redeem the wrongs that have been done. I may not have been the ones who stole the land and abolished a way of life, but I can be part of the redemption. ( )
  DwaynesBookList | Sep 18, 2021 |
A contemporary look at what happened when Europeans came to North America — and what is still happening as whites continue to take stuff, impose their will and stack the deck against any challenge or conflicting opinion. Some of the bits I marked: "Governments here and around the world also know that fear and poverty can hold an injustice in place in perpetuity, no matter how flagrant, no matter how obscene". ... "You see my problem. The history I offered to forget, the past I offered to burn, turns out to be our present. It may well be our future." While discussing the challenge for North American tribes to determine the "rules" for who is considered a member Indian and who isn't, he observes, "Barriers can create security. Numbers can create strength." And he mentions "an old adage" that I'd never heard before, and that I hope never to forget, "Democracy is more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner." Thank you, to my local library system, for having this book on the shelf; I hope many more people read it. ( )
1 vote ReadMeAnother | May 10, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
The book Canadians are snapping up hardly paints them in a flattering light. King’s tone is breezy and light, full of funny stories and self-deprecating jokes, but just below that geniality lies a deep reservoir of bitterness over the treatment of Indians in Canada and the United States that continues on to this day. White North Americans, he argues, prefer their Indians noble, primitive, and safely extinct, and actual, live Indians who stubbornly insist on their rights as an independent people they regard as at best a troublesome nuisance.
 
It’s a mistake to expect a scholarly history of Native Americans—though Thomas King certainly has he chops to write it—but what we get instead is something only King could do: an historical and cultural memoir, packed with facts and using narrative as it is best used. ... A bit lighter in tone than Vine Deloria Jr.’s Custer Died for Your Sins, The Inconvenient Indian is also fully rooted in the 21st century, with discussion of contemporary Native American practices and culture.
added by KelMunger | editLit/Rant, Kel Munger (Sep 18, 2013)
 
The Inconvenient Indian is less an indictment than a reassurance that we can create equality and harmony. A powerful, important book.
 
Novelist Thomas King describes his brilliantly insightful, peevish book about native people in North America as a “a series of conversations and arguments that I’ve been having with myself and others for most of my adult life.” Making no excuses for the intrusion of his own personal biases and the book’s lack of footnotes, King suggests we view The Inconvenient Indian not as history, but as storytelling “fraught with history.”
added by Nickelini | editQuill and Quire (Nov 1, 2012)
 
Dr. King’s book should be required reading for anyone seeking insider insight into how Indians have been treated in Canada versus the United States. Born in America and now a distinguished Canadian writer-educator, the author is in a prime position for this undertaking. - See more at: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-...
 
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Epigraph
I am the Indian.
And the burden
Lies yet with me.

Rita Joe, "Poems of Rita Joe"
Dedication
For the grandchildren I will not see.
First words
About fifteen years back, a bunch of us got together to form a drum group.
Quotations
A great many people in North America believe that Canada and the United States, in a moment of inexplicable generosity, gave treaty rights to Native people as a gift. Of course, anyone familiar with the history of Indians in North America knows that Native people paid for every treaty right, and in some cases, paid more than once. The idea that either country gave First Nations something for free is horseshit.
Sorry. I should have been more polite and said "anyone familiar with Native history knows this is in error," or "knows that this is untrue," but, frankly, I'm tired of correcting people. I could have said "bullshit," which is a more standard North American expletive, but, as Sherman Alexie (Spokane-Coeur d'Alene) reminds us in his poem "How to Write the Great American Indian Novel," "real" Indians come from a horse culture. (70)
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In The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King offers a deeply knowing, darkly funny, unabashedly opinionated, and utterly unconventional account of Indian-White relations in North America since initial contact. Ranging freely across the centuries and the Canada-U.S. border, King debunks fabricated stories of Indian savagery and White heroism, takes an oblique look at Indians (and cowboys) in film and popular culture, wrestles with the history of Native American resistance and his own experiences as a Native rights activist, and articulates a profound, revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.

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